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Ectosomes and Exosomes-Two Extracellular Vesicles That Differ Only in Some Details

This short comment deals with the recent review by Emanuele Cocucci and Jacopo Meldolesi on "Ectosomes and exosomes: shedding the confusion between extracellular vesicles" [1]. The confusion and shedding issues that are re-considered here are the following:

1. The biogenesis of the two vesicles. Ectosomes are generated directly from the plasma membrane, the exosomes, accumulated within the multivesicular bodies, are released upon exocytosis of the latter organelles.

2. The dissolution/navigation of the two types of extracellular vesicles.

3. Their fusion with specific target cells.

4. Their accumulation in the serum and urine. The conclusion emphasizes the relevance of ectosomes and exosomes in physiological and also pathological processes. The physiological processes include the expansion of the functional cell space; the concentration of specific components in the ectosome/exosome membranes, distinct from the plasma and multivesicular body membranes; the concentration of content molecules (proteins, RNAs and also DNA sequences) with respect to the cytosol; the external fusions with target cells. Among the pathological processes are the diagnoses of cancers and of other diseases.


Jacopo Meldolesi

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